Colbea, Cooper & Chase Colbea, Cooper and Chase’s Story

"We owe our three beautiful miracles’ lives to the Saint Barnabas NICU."

It was November 3, 2008, when Colbea, Cooper and Chase were born after only 23 weeks and 4 days gestation. It was a bittersweet day. Our babies were here, but much too soon. How could this happen when our first son Tyler, who was only 11 months old at the time, was a full term baby? We were given the grim statistics of one child born at 23 weeks and the decreasing survival rates for triplets born at their gestational age. Thankfully the Saint Barnabas NICU is one of the best units in the country.

When our babies were born they were unable to breathe on their own, their eyes were fused shut and they needed to be fed through feeding tubes for months. Cooper was the biggest at 1 lb, 8 oz, Chase was 1 lb, 7.4 oz. and our only daughter Colbea was 1 lb, 7 oz. They all had periods of time when their breathing and hearts would stop and they had to be revived by the staff.

I will never forget the sadness I felt leaving the hospital without them. That night got even worse when we received a call letting us know that Colbea needed emergency surgery to repair a perforated intestine. This would be her first of three operations. At the time of the surgery she was only 1 lb, 2 oz., but the amazing doctors were able to save our tiny little girl’s life. She came home after 105 days.

Chase developed some serious respiratory problems and needed additional breathing support. Because of the doctors’ intelligence and experience, they decided to wait and see what happened rather than operate. Thankfully, Chase’s lungs cleared. He came home after 97 days.

Cooper had the longest stay because he was having trouble learning how to drink from his bottle. This ended up being a blessing because the doctors were able to detect a rapid decline in his eyes. Although all three babies had Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), Cooper’s worsened to stage 4 and needed eye surgery while he was still in the NICU. It is because of the constant attention in the NICU, that he has his eyesight today. He came home after 136 days.

All our babies needed numerous blood transfusions, were intubated, exubated and had IV lines in and out. Through all this, the doctors and nurses kept us informed and, most of all, cared for our children as if they were their own. It is amazing to see such love and care combined with knowledge and professionalism from the whole staff. Today Colbea, Chase and Cooper are happy and healthy one-year-olds. We owe our three beautiful miracles’ lives to the Saint Barnabas NICU. Miracles really do happen there.

- Mary Jo and Bob